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June 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Derk Bruins <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 8 Jun 1994 16:30:44 EDT
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Some time ago, Helen Mellett posted:
> What I detest is the portrayal of women with strong
> sexual drives and desires as psychotic and or murderers!
> What is this saying?  Sexuality = Mental Illness?????
> Glenn Close, _Fatal Attraction_, Sharon Stone, _Basic
> Instinct_ and Madonna, _Body of Evidence_.   Any others?
I thought of some older "made for TV" movies that are still
kicking around.
Heather (played by Jennifer O'Neil 1989) in "Personals."   An
obvious mental case.  A shy, repressed librarian, who  was
dumped by a married man, goes around puncturing  hearts of
other cheating married men in the heat of passion.
On the other hand, she may not be all that aggressive; she
only responds to the personal ads posted by the men.
Joanna (played by Stephanie Zimbalist 1980) in "the
Babysitter." She insinuates herself into a dysfunctional
family and embarks  on a campaign of seduction of William
Shatner, and eventually  succedes.  In this case, she has been
psycho probably since  before coming of sexual maturity (first
recorded killing at about  age 12).  She first seduced the
teenage boy we see her kill in  a sailing "accident." And as
the movie winds up, we find that  she had already killed a
family of three before the film opens  after her sexual
liaison with the husband had been exposed.   She is thwarted
from killing another family of three (Shattner, Patty Duke
Astin, and daughter) at the last moment.
A third film came to mind which doesn't  fall within the
bounds  of "Psycho-bitches," but which "demonstrates" how an
intelligent woman who kicks over the traces set for her by
society is bound for hell and perdition (figuratively).  Diana
 Rockland, (played by Stephanie Zimbalist -- 1985) in "Love
on the Run," is a sexually repressed young lawyer, who  takes
care of her semi-invalid father until his death.  She is
vulnerable to seduction by a prison inmate (Alec Baldwin)  and
breaks him out of prison.  She finds that, in essence,  his
only competence is in bed and, despite her best efforts  to
keep them out of the clutches of the law, he screws up  every
effort she makes to earn the money they need to  survive.  She
even has to assume the responsibility to  ensure that he is
not killed when they are captured by the  police.  In the end,
she loses everything in this "misguided"  pursuit of love.
She's not psycho, but letting her sexual desires loose spells
I have often wondered whether this movie was the "reality
check" on Stephanie Zimbalist's character "Laura Holt" in  the
then popular TV series "Remington Steele."
I hope this didn't stray too far from the topic at hand.
Derk Bruins
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